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Project Raindance: Inside The Restoration Of A Modern Apache Warrior

Sometime in the mid-2000s, Andy Imhof of Maryland Offshore Performance Marine Center decided it was time to tackle a signature project that showcased the entire range of his Rockville-based company’s restoration services. So he bought Raindance, a 36-foot Apache Warrior built in 1992, and got to work.

In a way, the 36-footer remains Maryland Offshore Performance Marine Center’s timeless calling card—even though it now belongs to a proud owner on the West Coast.

raindanceapahe36 08

For Maryland Offshore Performance Marine Center, Raindance is a signature restoration project. All running photos courtesy/copyright of the Florida Powerboat Club.

“We completed it all the way to the paint back in 2007,” he said. “It was our first complete restoration. Until then, we’d done different parts of other boats. This time, we wanted to do an entire boat. Our goal was to take an older boat and modernize it. We wanted to create what a modern Apache might look like.

“The one thing I think really stands out is the paint on this boat—it was painted 11 years and it still looks great,” he added. “You would think it was painted this year. It still looks current.”

Given the vintage of the boat in front of Imhof and his crew, that meant changing almost everything. They started by stripping and gutting the 36-footer down its bare hull—about the only original pieces of equipment they left intact were the boat’s fuel tanks. They filled in all the hullside vent holes and modified the dash for improved ergonomics and easier two-man operation, which required building the driver’s dash and relocating the controls.

Imhof and his crew replaced the original bolsters with in-house-built versions that sit lower in the boat and, as such, make the raised in front of the dash more effective for blocking wind. To help the driver and copilot stay in place in rough water, they added angle foot-wells to the cockpit sole. Aft of the bolsters, they installed a new custom rear bench.

“We even built a one-piece engine hatch for it,” said Imhof. “It used to a be two-piece hatch. And with the new hatch, we duplicated the radius of the deck of the boat.”

Far from an afterthought, the cabin was upgraded to include flat-screen television with a DVD player, and a new Fusion sound system and a built-in cooler.

“It’s very roomy down there,” said Imhof. “There’s a big V-berth and two lounges.

For a closer look at Raindance check out the slideshow above.

But as happens with a lot of in-house marketing projects done on the proprietor’s time and dime, the renovation of the 36-footer stalled at the rigging and repower stage.

“We got busy and never finished it,” said Imhof. “So we put it up for sale.”

That changed last year when Brian Metcalf, a commercial construction contractor based in Los Angeles, stepped up to buy the boat. Metcalf had been looking for a true offshore V-bottom of the pre-owned vintage kind, but had been coming up blank on the West Coast. Eventually, he reached out to his friend, Mike Bolin, who owns an Outerlimits 39’ GTX V-bottom renovated by Maryland Offshore Performance Marine Center and Waves and Wheels. That led him to Imhof and his 36-foot Apache.

“Somehow, it fell into my lap,” said Metcalf. “I never thought I would have the opportunity to own one of these boats.”

Metcalf bought the boat before seeing it in person. But Imhof still had the engine rebuild and rigging work to finish, so the project restarted in earnest last spring and finished in August.

“The engines are 598 cubic inches and were originally built by Paul Pffaf,” said Imhof. “We pulled them out and rebuilt them. We added an upgraded camshaft, upgraded cylinder heads and new 10-71 blowers from The Blower Shop. They make 985-hp on pump gas, 1,140 hp when we up the boost and the octane. It’s plenty fast. I think the boat will run 115 mph. And in our initially testing with 33-inch pitch five-blade Mercury propellers, we we’re getting 9 to 10 percent prop slip. That’s pretty good.”

With the 2017 California boating season almost finished by the time the boat was complete, Metcalf decided to leave the boat in Maryland and then run it in the Florida Powerboat Club’s annual Key West Poker Run last November. Before the event, he traveled to Maryland to run the V-bottom with Imhof on the Potomac River.

“It looked great, handled great and sounded amazing,” he said. “When I saw it for the first time, I was blown away. It was more than I expected it to be.”

With the exception of a steering system issue that kept them from reaching Key West by water—they trailered the boat into town for the last leg of the run—Metcalf and Imhof had no issues with Raindance. They even took out the boat Saturday in five- to seven-foot seas. (The conditions were rough enough to force the Florida Powerboat Club to cancel its fun run to Woman Key.)

“It handled even better in the ocean,” said Metcalf, who has since had Imhof add a 10-inch Garmin GPS unit and Bluave Marine Audio speaker system to his prize. “We took it out some huge waves. It was an experience.”

In the coming weeks, the 36-foot Apache will be transported from Maryland to Lake Havasu City, Ariz. Metcalf will use it there until spring, when he brings the boat home to Southern California—specifically Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles county—for the summer.

“The boat came out better than I ever imagined it would,” he said. “Andy and the guys did a great job. They brought a 36 Apache built in 1992 to 2017 standards.”

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